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Android devices to top one billion shipments in 2014

Android device shipments will top one billion units worldwide in 2014 as mobile continues to dominate the market for all consumer computing devices on a world basis.

Gartner figures show that worldwide combined shipments of PCs, tablets, ultramobile and mobile phones will hit 2.5 billion in 2014 – an increase of 7.6 per cent compared to 2013.

"The device market continues to evolve, with buyers deciding which combination of devices is required to meet their wants and needs. Mobile phones are a must have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Mobile phones will dominate the market with 1.9 billion device shipments in 2014, which represents an increase of five per cent compared to 2013. Ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids and clamshells, will become the main driver of growth from 2014 onwards as they experience a growth rate of some 54 per cent.

"Complimentary smaller tablets will take over from the larger tablet form factors, providing the added mobility that consumers desire at a lower cost and will compete with hybrids for consumer attention," said Atwal.

When it comes to the operating system [OS] market, Gartner thinks Android will reach 1.1 billion users in 2014, which represents an increase of 26 per cent compared to 2013.

"There is no doubt that there is a volume versus value equation, with Android users also purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users. Android holds the largest number of installed-base devices, with 1.9 billion in use in 2014, compared with 682 million iOS/Mac OS installed-base devices," said Annette Zimmerman, principal analyst at Gartner.

Much of the growth will be contributed by the tablet sector that is expected to see a 47 per cent increase during 2014 due to lower average selling prices opening the devices up to new users. The growth of tablets is having a detrimental effect on traditional PC sales and 2014 will be no different with shipments set to drop seven per cent to 278 million devices, which was less of a drop compared to the decrease of 9.9 per cent between 2012 and 2013.

"Users continue to move away from the traditional PC (notebooks and desk-based) as it becomes more of a shared content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users' increasingly different demands,” Atwal added.